“Ti’swaq Blanket Project” to Support this Year’s Paddle to Nisqually

Paddle_to_Nisqually_Blanket_ArtworkThis year’s annual Canoe Journey is hosted by the Nisqually tribe. For thousands of years Coastal Tribes traveled the great Salish Sea and fished its abundant waters and celebrated with the Potlatch. The Canoe Journey today awakens pride, purpose, responsibility and traditions in the youth that participate. Canoe Journey also inspires teamwork and what it means to work and pull together.

Giveaways have always been a part of the Salish people’s culture; “potlatches” called together large numbers of people, frequently from different tribes, to share giveaways.

Local residents are invited to assist the Nisqually Tribe by purchasing blankets for them to give to visiting tribes. This is an important part of the experience for everyone involved. Jody Bergsma, designer of this beautiful blanket, is offering the artwork and production capability ‘at cost’ for this project.

The Art and the Story:

  • A vision of the great canoe warriors emerge from the past.
  • Their cedar canoes and paddles are empowered with symbols of totems for the tribe. The feathers of eagle and raven are on the bow.
  • Paddles are up and signal a request to come ashore.
  • The canoes travel to the mouth of the Nisqually river whose head waters are formed from the snowy peak of Mt. Tahoma (Rainier).
  • A circle of salmon surround and protect the canoes and pullers. The Great Eagle Spirit watches over them all.
  • Behind the mountain is the milky way and the trail of stars that leads to the Ancestors.

Your contribution of $85 will purchase 10 blankets for the giveaway. Plus, you will receive one blanket for yourself. Supporters able to donate $85, $170, $255 (and so on, in multiples of $85) can receive one blanket for each ten they help to fund.

Can you help with a contribution? Interfaith Works, a not-for-profit organization, will receive funds to support the Nisqually Canoe Family with their production of this year’s Paddle to Nisqually. Kindly make checks payable to Interfaith Works, with “Nisqually Blanket Giveaway” on the memo line. You may mail your check to Interfaith Works, PO Box 1221, Olympia, 98507. Please make your contribution by May 26th. Every $85 puts them closer.  Let Right Relations Steh-chass/Olympia know you want to donate and they’ll front your donation until your funds can arrive.

The Blanket Project is offered by Right Relations Steh-chass/Olympia. Right Relations Steh-chass/Olympia is a group seeking to live in solidarity with the first peoples of the Salish Sea through education, acknowledgement, and supportive actions. Co-coordinators Pat Rasmussen or Douglas Mackey, can be reached at rightrelationsstehchass@gmail.comSteh-chass is the name of the original people who lived in the lower Deschutes River basin.

The Nisqually Tribe welcomes and celebrates all nations and visitors to Canoe Journey 2016! The Tribal Canoe Journeys – Paddle to Nisqually – will take place July 30th through August 6th, 2016.

Disaster Preparedness Workshop – May 21st


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What’s the difference between an emergency and a disaster?

An emergency is a catastrophic event that can be addressed within the household or by requested assistance from outside the area (first responders – fire, Sheriff’s Department, medical or utility personnel).

A disaster is a catastrophic event that is significant enough to prohibit or delay immediate response by first responders from outside the area. A disaster is beyond the abilities of the household and it requires assistance from neighbors.

— from the Disaster Preparedness page here on the GriffinNeighbors web site

Sheriff’s Department Asks for Help to Find This Man

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Do you know this man?

Local residents have suffered through a wave of mail thefts for the last several months. One recommendation from law enforcement and the postal service has been to send outgoing mail from the postal station at the Island Market. There is a mail drop inside the market. There is also a mailbox outside the market, to the left of the front door.

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If you know this man’s whereabouts, call Detective George Oplinger at (360) 786-5746

The night of March 26th someone broke into the mailbox outside the Island Market. Now photographs of the suspect, taken from a security camera outside the Island Market, have been released by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff’s Department wants to find and speak to this man. Do you know the man in these photographs?

If you know the man in these photographs please call Detective George Oplinger at the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department at (360) 786-5746. If you see this person at a location and you are not sure if he will be around long then call 911 to report the location. You will have to tell whomever answers that this is the suspect from the Island Market mail box theft. A deputy will be dispatched and they will also contact Detective Oplinger.

Another option is if you don’t want to get involved or be identified you can remain anonymous and call the Olympia/Thurston County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) and even receive a reward.

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Click these photos for a larger image.

Update: The Thurston County Sheriff’s Department is reporting the suspect has now been identified. The US Postal Inspector is handling the case and will be forwarding criminal charges against him.

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What’s the Story Behind the Steamboat Neighborhood Stickers?

steamboat_logo_1950x1050You have probably seen them around. The Steamboat Neighborhood stickers have found their way on to a lot of cars. And trucks, boats, and laptop computers. More than a thousand have been distributed at community events and from the countertops of several of the local businesses in our area.

Click here to learn more about how the Steamboat Neighborhood logo art and the sticker were created.

The story of the Steamboat Neighborhood stickers is just another of more than twenty-five years of stories from the Griffin Neighborhood Association. Join the GNA today. Your support will help us to pay for more Steamboat Neighborhood stickers, among other things.

Mail Safety: A Town Hall Meeting, March 16, Griffin School Gym


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Mail theft. Either there’s been a real increase in the incidence of theft or we’re much more aware of it than in the past. We’ve been reading on Nextdoor about the many mailboxes broken into or mail scattered along the roads, particularly from this last Fall and through the Winter. On Wednesday, March 16th the Griffin Neighborhood Association is hosting a special Town Hall meeting on the topic of Mail Safety.

Invited guests are a representative from the USPS Postal Inspector, Thurston County Sheriff’s Department, local USPS Mail Delivery personnel, and County Commissioner Bud Blake.

Mail Safety Town Hall
March 16
6:30 PM
Griffin School Gym
6530 33rd Ave NW

Hosted by the Griffin Neighborhood Association. Are you a member? If not, click here to join us.

Local Author Ellen King Rice Pens “The EvoAngel: A Mushroom Thriller”

evoangelElderly mushroom hunter Edna Morton has a health problem. She’s sprouted feathers. A trip to her health clinic brings her to the attention of an aggressive and ambitious physician, Dr. Theodora Band.

Is there something in the local mushrooms that activates DNA? Why now? Why Edna?

Edna knows which mushrooms could eliminate Dr. Band, but Edna would rather look at her family history to see if this has happened before. Could those stories of witches and toadstools be aspects of evolutionary development?

There’s no time to dawdle. Edna’s family is at risk of sprouting feathers too. Then there is a murder at the health clinic followed by the arrival of a National Security analyst who wants to learn about the ability of mushrooms to degrade sarin gas and neurotoxins.

Edna’s challenges are sprouting like mushrooms after rain.

Part adventure, part science class and totally fungi friendly, The EvoAngel delivers a grand gallop through the woods of the Pacific Northwest.

— from the description on Amazon.com of the new book The EvoAngel.

Here on the Steamboat Peninsula, we’re used to reading about the release of new books by local authors. Now there is a new first novel with a familiar setting but which takes place within a newly-emerging area of scientific inquiry. The book is The EvoAngel, written by Ellen King Rice.

The EvoAngel is a fictional thriller that features the activation of human DNA by the use of wild mushrooms. It is set in the Oyster Bay neighborhood and includes local sites and much information on the new science of epigenetics. It also includes pen and ink illustrations of local fungi.

Not only is The EvoAngel an exciting story based in a new area of science, the book itself was created in a new way. When asked about how the book was financed, Rice replied, “To my surprise I learned that it can easily cost $5,000 or more to self publish a printed book.” Cover design and interior book formatting take either a professional hand or a skill set in learning many technical details. “I cut corners where I could but I also ran a Kickstarter campaign last fall.” Rice turned to our local Nextdoor neighborhood to find a videographer and hired Madison Rochelle, a Capital High School student to record a video segment for the Kickstarter campaign. “The video is an important part of a successful campaign and Madison did a great job.” The Kickstarter campaign went on to raise $2,400.

When the Kickstarter campaign took off, Rice realized she could have illustrations of local mushrooms to add to her story. “Again, I returned to the neighborhood forum. I found Duncan Sheffels, who is a student at SPSCC. Duncan has a full schedule but he was able to fit in some trips to the woods and came up with 18 pen and ink drawings that are amazing.”

The story includes epigenetics, mushrooms and even a National Security Agency analyst. When asked about the research required to cover such a scope of action, Rice replied, “I spent the better part of a year doing background reading. I read an incredible book on mushroom lore called Mycelium Running that is written by Evergreen College alum Paul Stamets. I also read the guide to evolutionary development, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, by Sean B. Carroll and a book on dinosaurs, birds and prehistoric atmospheric conditions called Out of Thin Air by UW professor Peter Ward.”

The EvoAngel is an adult book. It does contain sex and violence (which are biological features of our species!). Most of the action takes place in Olympia and in our neighborhood. The book is available on Amazon, both in a printed copy and a Kindle edition. Rice will also have print copies available for local purchase at Orca Books.

Residents are invited to join Ellen King Rice for a night at the Olympia library, March 3 at 7:30 p.m.  She’ll have a short talk on evolutionary development and will read from the story. Says Rice, “Come learn about poisoning by mushroom!”

Learn more at www.ellenkingrice.com  and join Ellen King Rice for “Mushroom Tuesdays” on Facebook. Just click this link.

Your purchase, on Amazon, of any books using links from this page will support the Griffin Neighborhood Association.

GNA Board Asks Local Residents to Give Generously to St. Christopher’s Basic Needs Fund


Donate now to the St. Christopher’s Basic Needs Fund

A recent report by the United Way, published in The Olympian, found more than one-third of all households in Thurston County are living either below the poverty line (12%) or are earning above the poverty level but cannot afford necessities such as housing and childcare (23%). “1 in 3 Washington households struggle to afford basic life necessities,” read the headline. Here in the Griffin area, too, there are families either in poverty or unable to their meet basic needs. In many instances these are families where one or both parents are fully-employed, but where “incomes for these residents were low enough that a single incident — such as a broken-down vehicle or lengthy illness — could trigger a household crisis.” In 2015, nearly 120 children were participating in the free or reduced-price meal program at the Griffin School District.

On the Steamboat Peninsula, St. Christopher’s Community Church acts as a satellite location of the Thurston County Food Bank. But what started in 2007 as a Food Bank Satellite program has expanded into much more than just food for members of our community. Organizers at St. Christopher’s realized local residents in need required other kinds of assistance, too. Clothing, household items, cash donations, and gift cards for gasoline purchases are sometimes what’s required. Emergency power assistance has been provided in the form of aid to pay electric bills. St. Christopher’s program has even been able to obtain emergency supplies of firewood.

We have written about the activities of St. Christopher’s Community Church and their program’s coordinator, Lindy Vincent, in the past.

At their November meeting, the Board of the Griffin Neighborhood Association voted to make a $400 donation to the St. Christopher’s Basic Needs Fund. The Board challenges other local residents to make a donation now to St. Christopher’s. Click here to make a secure online donation in any amount. Specify the amount as a donation to “St. Christopher’s Food Bank”. If you prefer to make a donation by check, your donation should be payable to “St. Christopher’s Community Church Basic Needs Fund”.  The check can be mailed to St. Christopher’s Community Church, 7902 Steamboat Island Road NW, Olympia, WA 98502.

A monetary donation to the Basic Needs Fund will be put to work immediately, helping people right here in the Griffin area.

Thank you, from the members of the Board of the Griffin Neighborhood Association and from St. Christopher’s Community Church.

Annual Community Meeting – January 28 at 6:00 PM

If the entire Cascadia Subduction zone gives way at once, an event that seismologists call a full-margin rupture, the magnitude will be somewhere between 8.7 and 9.2.

Kenneth Murphy, who directs FEMA’s Region X, the division responsible for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska, says, “Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast.”

In the Pacific Northwest, the area of impact will cover some hundred and forty thousand square miles, including Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Eugene, Salem (the capital city of Oregon), Olympia (the capital of Washington), and some seven million people. When the next full-margin rupture happens, that region will suffer the worst natural disaster in the history of North America. Roughly three thousand people died in San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake. Almost two thousand died in Hurricane Katrina. Almost three hundred died in Hurricane Sandy. FEMA projects that nearly thirteen thousand people will die in the Cascadia earthquake and tsunami. Another twenty-seven thousand will be injured, and the agency expects that it will need to provide shelter for a million displaced people, and food and water for another two and a half million.

— From The Really Big One, published July 20, 2015 in The New Yorker

Verizon Cell Tower Proposed for 5541 Steamboat Island Rd NW

Tallest surrounding trees are about 118 feet high. The proposed tower is 150 feet tall.

Local residents have received notice of a proposal to install a 150-foot tall monopole with six panel antennas “and associated equipment cabinets” on the property of Robert Skillman at 5541 Steamboat Island Rd. NW.

The notice implies that an initial balloon test has already been conducted. In this test, a balloon is hoisted to a height equivalent to that of the proposed tower to assist planners and local residents in assessing the visual impact of the tower with respect to the surrounding landscape. A second balloon test is scheduled for “8 consecutive daylight hours between 7am – 7 pm on January 8, 2016 (primary) or January 22, 2016 (secondary) if weather does not permit the January 8th balloon flight.”

The application is now in its 20-day public comment period. The period expires 4PM on January 6, 2016. During this period, interested parties can ask to be added to a mailing list to receive the findings from the Hearing Examiner, when the Examiner’s decision is made.

We note the second balloon test is scheduled to be run after the public comment period has ended.

During this public comment period, residents may make comments by mail or email to the County’s Resource Stewardship Department. For additional information or to make a comment, contact Scott McCormick, MES, Associate Planner by calling (360) 754-3355, ext. 6372 or email mccorms@co.thurston.wa.us. Refer to Project Number “2015107101”. The Resource Stewardship Department is at 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Olympia, WA 98502 and online at http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/permitting

End of Public Comment Period: 4 PM January 6
Balloon Test: January 8 or January 22 (weather depending) for eight hours after 7 AM.

Additionally , there will be another 14-day public comment period when the environmental determination is issued. It appears the environmental determination has not yet been made.

Click here to view a copy of the Notice of Application issued by the County.

Click here to view a copy of Verizon’s plan for the installation.

Other items related to this project can be found on this page of the County’s web site. Click here and enter a search for Project Number 2015107101.

As of today, there are no third party reviews of wireless facilities listed on the County’s web page.

Local residents considering opposing this project are encouraged to contact Amy Ramsey at amy.foresthealth@gmail.com or (360) 878-2755.